Does ‘Ethical Leather’ Exist?

Many companies, aware that consumers care about the well-being of animals, market their leather products as 'ethical'. Can this ever be true?

When you look beyond the marketing, it becomes clear that leather made from an animal can never be ethical. Here is why…

1 Leather is not a by-product

Two images from a business that sells both ‘grass fed beef’, and leather bags made from the same slaughtered cows, fur still attached and sold for over $1000

Buying leather financially supports animal slaughter and is defined by Meat and Livestock Australia as a co-product, not a by-product. Skins are extremely valuable to meat and dairy industries and without the profits from leather sales they would suffer huge economic losses.

2 Leather labelling is misleading

A cow in Brazil being face branded with a hot iron. Image: Peta

Leather labels often state where the leather processing was ‘finished’ rather than where the cow was slaughtered. This means there is no telling how or where that animal was raised or killed.

For example, less than 10 percent of the cow skins used in the Italian leather industry come from Italian farmed and slaughtered cows, but if it’s tanned or finished there, it can say ‘Made In Italy’.

3 Humane slaughter is a myth

A cow awaits their death in a slaughterhouse ‘knocking box’

Even when best industry practice is followed, there is no humane way to kill someone who does not want to die.

We would never think it was humane to shoot a captive-bolt gun into the head of our dog or cat, followed by slitting their throat. Why would we think it is for other animals?

4 Wearing any leather promotes cruelty

Even if a product is made from vintage, surplus or recycled leather, wearing a dead animal strengthens the idea that animals are materials or objects, rather than feeling, thinking beings.

5 When we stop buying leather we stop paying for slaughter

Slaughterhouses, who buy cows from farmers and saleyards, have spoken about multi-million dollar losses due to a decrease in hide sales for leather products.

Dennis King the executive officer of the Australian Hide, Skin and Leather Exporters Association said ‘we’ve seen big global brands move away from using leather products in favour of…alternatives’.

This shows the power of individuals making kinder choices.

Pledge to go leather-free

Ethical fashion does not involve paying for the slaughter of animals. By entering a few details below, you can commit to a kinder world and pledge to say 'no' to leather when you shop!

As thanks, we'll send you an e-mail containing discount codes for leather-free products from vegan brands, as well as further information to help you on your way.